DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m in a very bad spot. I overheard my boyfriend is planning to ask me to marry him in a very public way before Christmas. I feel sick about this, because I don’t know if I’m far enough along the road to be able to say a definite "yes" to a life commitment with him.
I’m "likely" at this point, but not 100 per cent sure. I’m only in my mid-20s. I love the guy quite a bit, and really don’t want to embarrass him by turning him down in public. What should I do?
— Worried Sick, South Winnipeg
Dear Worried Sick: Why do you think he’s planning this without discussing anything with you? Is he trying to make sure you’ll have to say yes? A sneak attack is not a good idea, where marriage is concerned. But sometimes, people are afraid their partner won’t say yes, so they make the proposal into a surprise public event. Others over-give — like a giant diamond ring — so the lady will feel pressured to say yes.
Marriage discussions need to happen way before that, and should be kept private. These can include difficult topics, like money, having babies (or not), who will be working and when, the lifestyle you want, where you want to live (country or city), the roles of family in your lives — so many important things that come before agreeing to an engagement.
If you can’t spill your feelings to him, like you are to me, you two aren’t nearly close enough to be getting married. You are still in the growing stages, meaning you might want to get married to him, but you might not when you hear he wants six kids and to move out to a farm. He might not be so keen on you if you expect him to be a part-time househusband, while you travel the world for your work. These are exaggerated examples, but many people have been shocked, to say the least, when they find out the future dreams of their beloved.
My best advice to you is to tell your guy right away that you’re not emotionally ready for engagement and marriage, but if and when you are, you’ll first want to have big discussions about all the important issues.
Tell him clearly you don’t want any engagement surprises, or your answer is likely to be negative. That will definitely spoil his dramatic plans. He may be angry, disappointed and hurt. Be prepared for that and be kind, but hold your ground. Marriage is serious and much too important to just jump into it.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My boyfriend is a professional sports player. We recently moved in together and are making a life. This certain woman — a friend of mine — is absolutely shameless. When we are out together, she shows no respect for our relationship. She throws herself at him.
He has been firm and polite, telling her he’s not interested. It’s like she’s deaf. I have also given her "the look" and have spoken to her. Her response to me was, "Stop being so jealous. Get used to it, sweetheart; this is how things are." What does she mean?
I’ve heard from some of the other players’ girlfriends that women follow the teams, hoping to get together with one of the guys. I love my guy, but am not sure if I’m up for a life of women following them and trying to break up relationships. Any help would be appreciated!
— Confused and Worried, Tuxedo
Dear Confused: "This is the way it is, sweetheart" from your so-called friend is telling you she will dominate the situation and you can stand back and watch her take your man. She’s a competitive "every woman for herself" kind of babe. Why are you friends with her? You’d best cut her out of your life and tell her exactly why you’re doing it — not that she’ll listen. But do let her have it, for your own sake and for hers. She needs to get the message several times from more than one strong woman. Maybe no one has had the nerve to tell her yet, as you haven’t. But hopefully that will change now and she’s going to get a blast she never expected!
Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.